FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Oct. 28, 2021
Contact: Kathy Melley, (617) 791-0708
(BOSTON, MA) – Today, President Biden and Congress released an agreed upon framework for the Build Back Better Act, which would make historic investments to enhance the health, economic security and well-being of people and communities across the country. Several provisions would make critical advancements for health care affordability, access and equity, including a four-year expansion of health coverage for more than two million people living in the 12 states that have refused to expand Medicaid. This would disproportionately benefit Black and brown people – who represent 60 percent of people impacted by the Medicaid coverage gap due to discriminatory barriers to economic security. The bill would extend reductions in health premiums to make coverage more affordable for people who buy their own insurance on the ACA Marketplace, which would provide continued relief started under the American Rescue Plan Act to many working families struggling with high health care costs. It would also strengthen home and community-based services for older adults and people with disabilities, and invest in maternal health.
Statement of Emily Stewart, executive director of Community Catalyst, in response to the Build Back Better Act framework introduced today by President Biden and House and Senate leaders:
“We applaud President Biden and congressional leaders for prioritizing investments that would improve people’s health and advance health equity and racial justice in the Build Back Better legislation. The bill would address a glaring racial and economic injustice by extending health coverage to more than two million people with low incomes, disproportionately Black and brown people, trapped in the coverage gap because their state leaders refuse to expand Medicaid. This has had a devastating impact on the health and well-being of people living in these states and their ability to access cancer care, substance use and mental health treatment, care for their chronic illnesses, preventive care and more. Having access to preventive and lifesaving care shouldn’t depend on where you live. We are committed to making this pathway to coverage permanent and better.
“Additionally, millions of working families who cannot get health coverage through their jobs would continue to be able to access affordable, high-quality insurance thanks to the bill’s extension of premium tax credits. It would increase funding for home and community-based services and support for workers, primarily women of color, who provide essential care that allows older adults and people with disabilities to live independently. The bill would also make a substantial, positive difference in the health and lives of children, youth and families with low incomes by creating free universal preschool, expanding access to high-quality, affordable child care, extending the Child Tax Credit, and investments in home and community-based care, housing and nutrition.
“These critical health provisions are a result of the tireless work of state and community leaders and advocates like Southerners for Medicaid Expansion, who ensured the voices of people who have too long been denied health care were heard. We are grateful to them, President Biden and to the congressional champions who made it happen. We urge all members to support this historic, transformative legislation, and to swiftly pass it.”
About Community Catalyst: Community Catalyst is a leading non-profit national health advocacy organization dedicated to advancing a movement for health equity and justice. We partner with local, state and national advocates to leverage and build power so all people can influence decisions that affect their health. Health systems will not be accountable to people without a fully engaged and organized community voice. That’s why we work every day to ensure people’s interests are represented wherever important decisions about health and health care are made: in communities, state houses and on Capitol Hill. For more information, visit http://www.communitycatalyst.org. Follow us on Twitter @CommCatHealth.